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Superhuman Ceo Rahul Vohra

The CEO of Superhuman, the red hot email productivity app which just announced their $33m Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz. While originally intended as an LP episode, we felt Superhuman would provide the perfect bookend to our “modern enterprise productivity trilogy” following our Zoom and Slack episodes. We hope you enjoy the conversation with Rahul as much as we did, and we’ll see you later this summer for Season 5!

Updated on October 21
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Rahul is the CEO of Superhuman, a wildly popular email app that's changing the way we interact with our Inbox. He is also an active angel investor and an advisor to various startups.

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Rapportive was started to satisfy Rahul's own need. While at the University of Cambridge,, Rahul dropped out of a PhD in Machine Learning and instead focused his time on meeting local entrepreneurs. He needed a tool that would help him establish a rapport with his new contacts, and so Rapportive was born!

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Rapportive started as a Firefox extension primarily because all the early adopters were still using Firefox. However, as Chrome gained dominance, it quickly became a Chrome extension and has been ever since.

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Linkedin initially approached Rahul with a request to stop using a third-party API to acquire their data, and as an entrepreneur would, Rahul requested they gave him direct access instead.

There were only ~20 companies using this secret Linkedin API and Rapportive was now one of them. It all started as a business development conversation, and eventually turned into an acquisition.

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Rahul was looking for a massive market, and while email was getting bigger, it was also been getting more underserved. Microsoft and Google had a strong hold on the experience, and every year that experience just kept getting worse. Thanks to his work at Rapportive and Linkedin, Rahul knew email very well, and it seemed like the logical next opportunity.

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Rahul believes that every founder has a startup that is meant just for them, something they are destined to fix, and when they do, the world will get behind them and support them. Superhuman was that startup for Rahul Vohra.

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The fastest email experience of all time, it gives you inbox superpowers.

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Rahul put a splash page for Superhuman where the only thing people could do was to sign up for the upcoming product. Once in the system, every potential user got an email with two questions:

1 - What do you use for email today? 2 - What are your pet peeves with it?

The hypothesis was that Gmail got slow and people had to use 3rd party plugins to make it work, while 3rd party clients were buggy and unstable.

Responses from those early users confirmed that both were true, and so Superhuman was onto something.

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When Mailbox, previously sold to Dropbox, was getting shut down, Rahul wrote a lengthy blog post entitled "How to survive an acquisition."

Being at the right place, at the right time, gave this blog post outsized visibility, and generate new users for Superhuman, basically for free.

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Superhuman positioned themselves as the Tesla of email. From the very beginning it was going to be a premium tool for a premium market. It was for founders, CEOs and managers of high-growth companies who wanted to do email better and faster. Superhuman was then Meticulously crafted to serve this narrow core group. Instead of trying to compete on price, the product was now competing on value, and Rahul used the first couple of hundred customers to figure out exactly what the price was going to be where users felt it was pricey, but were willing to spend.

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